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More on Medical issues

I recently emailed Dr.J of the Gormogons a few comments on his comments on my comments on his post about 3rd party payors in health insurance.  Dr.J graciously responded.

While I do have more comments/questions that are germane to the original topic, I realize that I have inadvertently strayed perilously close to “ongoing dialog” territory.  Going further down that path would require sustained intellectual rigor on my part, and we just can’t have that, now, can we?

I will say this, Dr.J’s comment about medical records being hand written on 8½ x 11 card stock brings back memories.  If I close my eyes, I can still see Doc ******, slouched a bit in the chair at the desk, smoking a cigarette and reading through the most recent couple of those stiff pages in my chart, then putting out the cigarette and saying something like, “So, your mom thinks you’ve got strep throat again, does she?  Well, let’s take a look.”

Yes, I’m old enough to remember a time when there were ash trays in the doctor’s office.

Even though I distinctly remember the examination rooms being generally cold and rather harshly lit with incandescent light, the memories of Doc ****** and that office are, with one glaring exception, sort of golden and warm and fuzzy.  (Yeah, I know, even I can’t believe I actually said that.)  I realize that some of that is simply nostalgia and relates to the feeling of being safe and trusting that Doc ****** was going to fix whatever was wrong with me.  But some of it has to do with the difference between how medicine was practiced then versus how it is practiced now.  Dr. J’s comments get to the heart of the difference.  Part of the reason that time seems warm and fuzzy compared to now is that those hand written comments on the card stock pages in my chart were about me.  Even though I think our current Doctor is just as dedicated and caring as old Doc ******, the notes that go into her computer are a list of billable procedures.

As for the “notable exception,” when I was in the first grade, I was playing Follow the Leader with a couple of other kids at recess.  I was the Leader, and was trying to execute some intricate maneuver on the Jungle Gym that I thought the other kids couldn’t do, when I slipped and hit my chin on one of the bars.  It opened up a gash directly along the jaw bone right under the point of my chin.  It took 6 stitches to close and I still have the scar.  The point of the story is that 3 separate people in the Doctor’s office (two nurses and Doc ****** himself) asked what I was doing that caused me to get cut.  When I told them about the Follow the Leader thing, each one of them asked me how many kids were following me and did they all get cut.  I realize now they were teasing me, but at the time I remember wondering how stupid they had to be to think my friends were dumb enough to deliberately get themselves cut.  I also remember them telling my Mom later that I was grumpy about the whole process.

Now that I think about it, there are a number of things that highlight the differences between then and now.  After I got cut, someone from the school (probably the school nurse) drove me to the doctor’s office in their own car.  They tried to call my mother, but she was at a church meeting or something.  They asked me about it, but I hadn’t been paying attention that morning when Mom told me where she was going, so I wasn’t any help.  I think they eventually called my dad at the college and found out where mom was from him after they stitched me up.  The point is that not only was the school not sued for having faulty playground equipment or inadequate supervision or for unauthorized transport and the doctor not sued for working on me without permission, none of the parties involved were even questioned by my parents.  In fact, my folks would have been upset if the parties involved hadn’t done what they did to take care of the situation as quickly as possible.

Maybe that was just a small town thing, but it really was a different world.

{ 3 } Comments

  1. Rat Jr.No Gravatar | July 29, 2012 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    You know I think I know which Doctor you are talking about and I really liked him.

  2. cziltangNo Gravatar | July 30, 2012 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    yes, you do

  3. Rat Jr.No Gravatar | July 31, 2012 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    He was the only person who made sure to take kids at church aside to explain that we shouldn’t hate those that attacked us on 911. He explained what was going on over there and how stuff worked. Sorry, I’m tired and I don’t think I am getting what I’m trying to say across, just take this as I really really liked this man and appreciated what he had to say.

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